“Let your wife take a day off from the kitchen!” was the promotional message that UberEats sent out to its customers in Bangalore, India. The ride-hailing company, Uber, also runs a food delivery service called UberEats. To celebrate “Wife Appreciation Day” in India, the company sent its users a discount of 100 Rupees, or around $1.56, meant to help the celebration of Indian wives. Instead, they faced an immediate backlash of angry customers who viewed the promo as perpetuating gender discrimination through its use of stereotypes.
After a barrage of sarcastic tweets from users about women being saved from kitchen slavery by men using the promotional discount to buy their freedom, Uber was forced to withdraw the promo and apologize.
Uber’s Image Problem
Uber’s woes seem unending –2017 has seen multiple scandals at the company and a new CEO. Despite claims that it is entering “180 days of change,” a turn-around campaign meant to change the company culture that is famously sexist, the firm seems to have stumbled again.
In January, Uber was up against a social media campaign called #DeleteUber that urged people to delete the company’s app because of its ties to President Trump. Over one January weekend, 200,000 customers did just that.
Then, February saw the publication of a blog by a female former engineer detailing the atmosphere of sexual harassment and gender discrimination that she said she experienced at Uber. Her complaints to human resources about her supervisor went unheeded and she was forced to change departments and give up work she was doing on an important project. She later discovered that the supervisor had a pattern of similar behavior with other women and that he had never been disciplined. Uber launched an investigation and CEO Travis Kalanick promised change within the company.
A June workplace investigation revealed 215 claims of workplace harassment for which over 20 employees had to be fired. That same month, Kalanick announced he would take a leave of absence. A board member made a sexist joke at the company meeting and was forced to resign. The results of the February investigation led by former U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, were also released in June. It recommended 47 measures to improve conditions at Uber and the company agreed to the changes.
That same month, under massive pressure from investors who had had enough, Travis Kalanick stepped down to allow Uber to start a search for a new CEO. Dara Khosrowshahi was announced as the new CEO in August. He has his work cut out for him as the UberEats ad campaign has shown.
Red Bank Employment Discrimination Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Gender Discrimination and Harassment
The law says that employers have the responsibility to maintain a workplace free of discrimination and sexual harassment. If you feel you have been discriminated against at work or have experienced a hostile work environment, speak to an experienced Red Bank employment lawyer at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. about your legal options.